Resume or CV preparation tips

Less is not more!
I do not subscribe to the view that CV’s should be brief. This is because I regularly interview people who have omitted relevant information from their CV. Furthermore, aside from the primary selection criteria for a position, employers usually have a ‘wish list’ of other skills or experience in a candidate, which is often undeclared. Your comprehensive CV or resume may contain skills and experience which you do not realise are of interest to a prospective employer.
If you think your CV is verbose, then I would suggest that you delete certain information which may not be relevant to the position in question.

Assume nothing!
Do not assume that the person who is reading your CV knows what each of your employers do. Say a few words explaining the nature of the employer’s business. The same applies to projects. Everyone in your company might know what project ‘XYZ’ was and what it entailed, but don’t assume everyone outside the company to know this.

Why have you changed jobs?

The reasons why you changed jobs is of interest to employers. If a job was a fixed term contract, say so in your CV.

I like to see the month and year in which you start and finish each job. Vagueness regarding dates worries employers and recruiters alike.

Explain your roles

For each job you have held in recent memory, say up to the last ten years, explain your roles in detail. By all means detail your responsibilities, but also explain the goals of the position and what the performance measurement criteria were.

Relevant information
Only include information which is relevant to your employment. Do NOT mention partner/children/dog/cat etc. You need not mention your birth date, age, marital status, or any personal information which might lead to conscious or sub conscious discrimination. Even interests or hobbies should really be excluded.
Do mention skills in languages other than English. If English is not your first language state your proficiency in English language, spoken and written.

By all means list referees, but if you want your prospective employer to ask your permission before contacting them, you should then state that clearly.

There are no rules for resume writing or CV formatting but the vast majority detail career history in reverse chronological order. Personal details and qualifications are usually at the beginning of the document, but can be at the end. If you have considerable work experience it can help to summarise this then follow with a more detailed account of each position.

If you have genuine talent (and probably training) in document presentation then you will know how to produce a smart looking CV. Otherwise play safe – keep the format simple. If you are sending your CV by email, which most people do nowadays, avoid using complex document formatting or non standard fonts which may print differently on different printers. For the same reason, avoid moving the page margins out. Don’t try to ‘jazz up’ your CV by using graphics. Avoid mixing font types. Do use hard page breaks. Do use the spell checker! – there is absolutely no excuse for spelling mistakes if you are using a word processor.

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